Holiday bail decision for terror suspect baffling – MLA

Dee Fennel, pictured in October 2015
Dee Fennel, pictured in October 2015

A decision by a judge to allow a dissident republican who is facing terror-related charges to go to the Republic of Ireland on holiday will “baffle” the general public, an MLA said.

Dee Fennell, a 34-year-old from north Belfast, yesterday had the terms of his bail changed so he can go on the week-long trip to Co Donegal.

He is facing three charges, all relating to a graveyard oration given last year at an Easter Rising event in Lurgan.

He stands accused of encouraging acts of terrorism, inviting support for the IRA and addressing a meeting to encourage support for the IRA. He denies all charges.

He is currently required to live in Belfast and to report to the PSNI three times a week as he awaits trial on the charges.

At a hearing in Belfast Crown Court, Judge Gordon Kerr varied his bail to permit the holiday – provided he keeps to conditions including reporting to gardai.

North Belfast DUP MLA Nelson McCausland said: “Some of the decisions that are made at the courts simply baffle most ordinary people – and this is one of them.”

Whilst acknowledging that Mr Fennell has not been convicted of any of the charges he faces, he added: “These are serious offences that he has been charged with, so I think it is inappropriate that someone should, in those circumstances, be allowed to travel out of Northern Ireland into another country.”